Community members also slammed municipal officials for “collecting salaries without doing their jobs”
ANGRY city residents turned their wrath on Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo on Sunday, demanding answers over the “appalling lack of services and incompetence of municipal officials”.
They also called for the removal of the acting municipal manager, Boy Dhluwayo, at a community meeting that was held at the Galeshewe circle on Sunday.
Residents were once again left high and dry without water for several hours over the weekend.
No official explanations were forthcoming from Sol Plaatje Municipality, while messages were shared on social media among members of the public regarding apparent low water levels at the Newton Reservoir.
Media enquiries regarding further water shutdowns and possible repairs next week went unanswered.
Disgruntled residents handed over a memorandum to Mabilo demanding immediate action.
“Kimberley is broken and rotten. It used to have some of the cleanest water in the country and now it is undrinkable. It is as if we are staying in the bush with all the sewage leaks,” the residents said.
They berated the mayor for allowing himself to be “sabotaged”.
“You have the power to remove the acting municipal manager. You must not try to be Jesus and take the lashes.”
They also criticised municipal officials for “collecting salaries without doing their jobs”.
“People are lazing around in their offices, waiting for payday. Whenever we go to their offices they are nowhere to be found.
“The mayor must be the change he wants to see. He is earning R900,000 that he is not sharing with his neighbours. He swore to serve the people when he was elected. Perhaps if we toyi-toyi things will improve.”
They pointed out that residents could not be blamed for wasting water or the poor state of the city.
“We don’t want another mayor like Mangaliso Matika but it appears as if Mabilo is doing the same thing, while he is expecting a different result.
“We see Sol Plaatje municipal workers lying on the grass, drinking Black Label beer.
“We are not afraid of putting people in their places who are capable of doing the job.
“The tender system is only working for officials who want to drive G-wagons at the expense of the people of Kimberley who are gatvol (fed up). Nobody cares about us, we can’t work alone to fix the city.”
They demand “immediate” action to restore the city’s sparkle.
“We are drowning in debt, we are drowning in drugs and unemployment and it seems as if government is turning a blind eye.
“We demand immediate enhancement of service delivery to all areas. Potholes must be fixed and electricity must be sold at cost price with immediate effect. A long-lasting solution must be found to fix the water problems.”
They added that the amount of free electricity given to indigents should be increased by 100 percent, while the community also wanted to be updated on the filling of vacancies at the municipality – regarding who is hired and what their experience and qualifications are.
“The cost of electricity is ridiculous and the majority of people only earn R5,000 per month. We do not know where politicians get the idea that people in Kimberley have money. The diamonds are gone and there is only dust that is left.
“It is like they are showing us the middle finger. The R350 grant is only enough to buy one or two things. The municipality must unblock the electricity and find alternative ways of recouping income.
“The contract that was signed with a contractor from KwaZulu-Natal for the upgrading of the Galeshewe reticulation and stormwater infrastructure must be terminated.”
Community members said that immediate steps had to be taken to repair the Newton Reservoir.
“Why are local contractors not hired to fix the water problems? How is the economy supposed to grow when local contractors are side-lined? Outside contractors are given tenders so that kickbacks can be awarded.”
Mabilo told the community members that he had invited the acting municipal manager and the mayoral committee to the meeting on Sunday. “I do not know where they are.”
He pointed out that a solution to resident’s grievances could not be solved overnight.
“I have heard the cries of the community, their anger and disappointment over poor service delivery,” said Mabilo.
“I will hold an urgent meeting within the next 48 hours and convey the concerns. We will respond in writing to each point mentioned in the memorandum within the next seven days.”